Finding your Sleep Bliss
Sleep is the best meditation – Dalai Lama
Good quality sleep is necessary for rejuvenation of the mind and body. However according to the great British Sleep Survey 51.3 % of people have trouble finding their sleep bliss. Women suffer more than men in dealing with insomnia and sleep issues. Unfortunately the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fluctuate particularly in perimenopause and menopause which can disrupt quality and amount of sleep.
Many women complain of waking up feeling fatigued and lacking in energy even though they have just woken up.
Sleep deprivation may cause a number of health problems and compromise the immune system leaving you more susceptible to illness and disease.
It is a frustrating feeling when you are physically and mentally exhausted and unable to sleep. Tossing and turning until the early hours increases the feelings of fatigue, lethargy and tiredness.
Our circadian rhythms (our natural internal clock) have become disrupted in a huge way with modern lifestyle advancements.
False light and Blue Light
Many years ago when there was no electricity we would have gone to sleep as soon as the sun went down for the evening and woke up at sunrise. Today we have false light via the light bulb and electricity that gives us light any time we like. One of the worst disruptors of sleep is the blue light emitted by electronic devices.
The feeling of tiredness is compounded with unhealthy daytime habits. Many people report having an energy slump in the day and instead of taking a brief nap they are reaching for caffeine or chocolate to keep them awake and alert. This not only causes a blood sugar spike, but the energy crash soon afterwards.
Without the benefits of rejuvenating sleep our health is likely to suffer in some way. Performance at work may be affected too. The Japanese have recognised the value of a mini nap during the day, and some companies encourage staff to do this to recharge themselves.
Our minds are becoming overloaded and over stimulated with technology, digital and social media. The lifestyles we lead today have an impact on our quality of sleep.
Even though we have a number of gadgets that lighten our daily workload and make life easier, we have ended up ‘filling’ the extra time created. We have dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines that saves us time, but what are we filling that time with?
Many years ago before TV, Netflix, computers and all other electronic gadgets, families would spend evenings spent around the fire. Talking, playing games, having a sing song and generally enjoying family time.
We have become a ’swipe’ nation. Our brains are bombarded with a plethora of information constantly flowing in. We are communicating constantly and there is very little disconnect time.
How many times do you find yourself checking your messages, emails, Facebook, and all other social media accounts? More exposure to blue light.
I am even guilty of this myself. I am writing this blog on a long train journey. I could be relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery passing by but because I have time and a ‘connection’ I am working.
A Head down Nation
As I waited for the train to arrive on the platform I observed how many people had their heads down tapping away furiously into their devices, oblivious of their surroundings or the people around them.
According to experts from Harvard and Oxford, we are sleeping two hours less than we did in the 1960s.
So, what can you do?
- Keep the bedroom as dark as possible. Light suppresses melatonin
- Aim to go to bed between 9pm and 11pm
- Don’t obsess about the quantity of sleep you have, but focus on the quality. Many famous people function very well on very little sleep. Not everyone needs 8 hours sleep
- Don’t lie in at the weekends, this confuses the body
- Try staying off digital devices two hours before bedtime. This reduces your exposure to blue light
- No coffee, alcohol or heavy foods a few hours before bed
7. Pay attention to your energy slumps. Don’t reach for a coffee or sugar snack. If you are able, try to have a 10 minute nap
- Make your bedroom electronic free. No TV, no electronics. Make it a place that is calming and relaxing
- Place plants in your bedroom. This helps to improve the quality of the air you breathe
- Make sure your room is not too hot. Aim for a temperature of 15.5-20 C
11. Maintain a regular sleep routine and wake up at the same time each day
- Don’t use the snooze button as it confuses the body
- Try herbal teas such a chamomile and valerian and ensure you have plenty magnesium in your diet
- Use essential oils such as lavender in the bath or in a diffuser
15 Do some exercise daily, even walking is helpful
16 Reflexology and Reiki are very relaxing and may help to reduce stress levels and reduce cortisol levels
It is possible to wake up recharged, rejuvenated and ready for the day. Try implementing some of the above tips. Your mind and body will thank you.
If you have enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy the other blogs on the Flourish Beyond 40 website.